The world of work has changed almost beyond recognition due to Covid-19. The move towards homeworking in Scotland and throughout the UK was initiated by the fear of spreading the virus, but it’s become a popular way of working for many.
Working from home does incur additional expenses, however, and the government has acknowledged this by providing support for homeworkers. This support is available to eligible employees regardless of whether they’ve worked from home full time during the Covid-19 pandemic, or have split their working week between home and their employer’s workplace.
So what homeworking support is available in Scotland, and how can you access it?
Tax relief scheme for homeworkers
In 2020, HMRC launched a new ‘microservice’ to enable employees who had to work from home to make an application for tax relief. Now we’ve moved into a new tax year, this tax relief is still available under certain conditions.
Your employer must have instructed you to work at home to be eligible for the scheme, which offers two different methods of claiming tax back. Additionally, you only need to have worked at home for your employer for a single day during the tax year to be eligible.
So how much could you receive, and how do you access this homeworking support in Scotland?
You can claim £6 per week for the full tax year, even if you’ve only worked from home for your employer for one day. If you claim this amount you don’t need to retain proof of your homeworking expenses, which makes it a simple and straightforward way to claim.
You’re able to claim more than £6 per week if your costs are higher than this amount. The only downside is that you need to keep proof of your expenses in case HMRC need to see them. Proof typically includes receipts and bills for your costs – from your energy provider, for example, or office stationery supplier.
You can claim for expenses that are wholly for business purposes – this might include a proportion of your heating and lighting bills, printer paper and ink, office stationery, and work-related phone calls.
Your employer can agree to pay you the £6 per week tax-free. They don’t have to do so, however, and if they don’t you can make a claim online via the HMRC microservice. If you claim in this way you won’t receive a physical payment, but your tax code will be adjusted to reflect the reclaimed tax.
Some employees also routinely file a self-assessment tax return, and if this is the case you can claim the homeworking tax relief on your tax form.
How much you receive will depend on your tax band. Basic rate taxpayers will receive £62.40 for the tax year, and for higher rate taxpayers the figure is £124.80. This tax relief scheme isn’t available for self-employed people working from home – it’s intended to support employees who have had no choice but to work from home during the pandemic.
If you’ve already made a claim for the 2020/21 tax year, you’ll need to make a new claim for 2021/22. You can do this now via the same HMRC microservice, or using the other methods mentioned above.
If you would like more information on the homeworking support available in Scotland, please contact our expert team at Scotland Debt Solutions. We work exclusively with residents of Scotland, and operate from offices around the country. Please get in touch to arrange a free, same-day consultation.
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